My escape from Cape didn’t go as smoothly as I hoped. Mother and I were supposed to meet a plumber at her trailer on Kentucky Lake at 11 a.m. to move a shutoff valve to a place where it would be easier for her to get at it. I stayed up late to get the van loaded so we could pull out early.
I carefully activated an existing 8 a.m. alarm on my smartphone to give myself plenty of time to do a sweep of the house for forgotten items and to have coffee and a bowl of cereal. When I heard her moving about, I checked to see how much more time I could doze before having to put my feet on the floor.
My phone read 8:32. Unlike Brad Brune, who operates on Brune Standard Time, I got the a.m. and p.m. part right; I just hadn’t noticed that the alarm was set to go off on MTWTF, and today was S.
Mother elected to leave me behind
I loaded up the car, plugged in my phone and iPad, wrote down my starting mileage and pulled out of the driveway. Two blocks from the house, the Bluetooth display on my GPS said, “Disconnecting.” The phone was doornail dead. I tried artificial respiration, but ended up pulling the battery and doing a cold boot. It came back.
I plugged the charger in. Dead phone. Since the Verizon dealership was within eyesight, I went looking for help. Matt and Kelsey gave it their best shot, but the office was in the middle of a server upgrade, so they were busy handing calls to techs. They essentially did what I had already done, but with better results. I was back on the road again.
Cell towers and “if only”
As I got close to the trailer, I glanced at this cell tower and thought “if only.” Will, who was half of Will-Vera Camp Ground, approached Dad in the early 70s and said he was considering expanding his park and wanted to know if Dad would like to go in with him because of his construction background. Dad begged off saying he was working hard to wind down the business so he could retire, so the project never got off the ground.
I don’t know if this tower is on the plot Will was considering, but it’s adjacent to the park, so it might have been. I negotiated contracts with two cellular carriers to put cell sites on our newspaper building for somewhere between $6,000 and $8,000 a month if I remember right. This tower would probably have brought in as much money for Will and Dad as a raft of trailers.
Where’s the plumber?
When I got to the lake, Mother was steaming. Not a pretty sight. The plumber wasn’t there, he hadn’t answered his phone and hadn’t returned messages she had left for him. On the off-chance that she had dialed the wrong number, I called one listed in my phone and left VM saying that I was going to have to get on the road, but I would turn on the water so she’d be able to stay the weekend.
About 10 minutes later, the plumber called me, very apologetic. He had every intention of being there at 11, but he had been involved in a car crash that left him with a totaled vehicle, several broken ribs and some other injuries. I allowed as how that might be an acceptable excuse.
I helped her with some odd jobs, then took the obligatory goodbye shot next to a new sign Brother Mark had made, Niece Amy painted and Son Matt hung to replace the original that had gone missing.
About an hour north of Nashville, I stopped at a rest area intending to take a 22-minute nap before pressing on. I had scarcely started settling in when a young security guard approached my window. Wondering what kind of hassle I was going to get, I rolled down the window.
It turned out he was a nice guy who wanted to point out that he thought my driver’s side headlight was burned out. “Geez,” I said. “I just replaced that one in February, and the passenger side one burned out yesterday. Thanks for pointing it out. I carry a spare bulb, so I’ll replace it before it gets dark.”
I jettisoned the idea of a nap, changed the bulb and made Manchester, TN, before calling it a night. Tomorrow will be a better day, right?